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The Contribution of Higher Education to the Millennium Development Goals (Goolam Mohamedbhai)
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The Contribution of Higher Education to the Millennium Development Goals (Goolam Mohamedbhai)

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Presentation at the Closing Session of the 4th International Barcelona Conference on Higher Education organized by GUNI (http://www.guni-rmies.net) in March-April 2008.

Presentation at the Closing Session of the 4th International Barcelona Conference on Higher Education organized by GUNI (http://www.guni-rmies.net) in March-April 2008.

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The Contribution of Higher Education to the Millennium Development Goals (Goolam Mohamedbhai) The Contribution of Higher Education to the Millennium Development Goals (Goolam Mohamedbhai) Presentation Transcript

  • 4 th International Barcelona Conference on Higher Education: New Challenges & Emerging Roles for Human & Social Development 31 March – 2 April 2008 CLOSING SESSION “ The Contribution of Higher Education to the Millennium Development Goals” By Goolam Mohamedbhai President, International Association of Universities
  • BACKGROUND
    • In 2000, world leaders assembled to take stock of bleak picture of Planet Earth & formulated a vision for the future world:
    • less poverty & fewer hungry people
    • mothers and their new-born can expect to live longer
    • free from infectious diseases
    • all children have access to education
    • girls & women have equal chances as boys & men
    • Haves & have-nots join hands for the betterment of mankind
    • They drew up 8 goals for the new millennium and set 2015 as the target for their achievement – the MDGs
  • THE MILLENIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS
    • Eradicate extreme poverty & hunger
    • Achieve universal primary education
    • Promote gender equality & empower women
    • Reduce child mortality
    • Improve maternal health
    • Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria & other diseases
    • Ensure environmental sustainability
    • Develop a global partnership for development
  • HIGHER EDUCATION & THE MDGs Q1: Are academics really aware of the MDGs? Most of them are not. There is a great need to create awareness of MDGs in HEIs. Q2: Are MDGs really the business of HE? Are they not the responsibility of governments? They are the business & responsibility of all stakeholders. Since MDGs deal with human, social & economic development issues, they must de facto be of concern to HEIs. Q3: How can HE activities relate to MDGs? How can HEIs help to achieve the MDGs? At first sight, there is little linkage between MDGs and academic activities. But a closer look shows that HEIs can and already do assist in achieving the MDGs.
  • 1. ERADICATE EXTREME POVERTY & HUNGER
    • Regions with highest poverty are Sub-Saharan Africa & Southern Asia
    • In these regions most poor people live in rural areas, agriculture being their main livelihood
    • Agric. Colleges & Unis can play a key role in promoting agricultural development thru teaching, research & outreach programmes
    • In HEIs of these regions, rural development must be mainstreamed in all areas e.g. in engineering – use of local building materials, appropriate water supply & sanitation technologies, alternative sources of energy, etc.
    • University of Development Studies in Ghana : a pro-poor, rural, community-based institution. In each year of study all students spend one trimester in doing community-based practical field work
  • 2. ACHIEVE UNIVERSAL PRIMARY EDUCATION
    • Largest numbers of out-of-school children are in rural areas of developing countries. In Sub-Saharan Africa 40% of primary school age children are out of school
    • HEIs can research into causes of non-attendance to advise policy-makers, arrange literacy courses for parents to influence them to send their children to school, etc.
    • All student teachers, including fresh graduates, should do a compulsorily posting in rural areas, before or after graduation
    • Main role of HEIs here is to train and retrain huge numbers of teachers to meet the country's needs, and to ensure quality training e.g. Sub-Saharan Africa would need 1.6 million additional teachers to achieve universal primary education by 2015.
    • Open and distance learning will have to be resorted to.
  • 3. PROMOTE GENDER EQUITY & EMPOWER WOMEN
    • Women play a major role in a country’s development, especially in developing countries
    • HEIs to develop appropriate policies to remove gender inequity at all levels of education e.g. use of affirmative action for both students & teachers, especially in S&T fields
    • HEIs to mainstream gender in all teaching, research and outreach activities
    • For that purpose, HEIs could create a Gender Institute e.g. as at U of Makarere, U of Cape Town
    • University of Bakhat Alruda, Sudan : created a Faculty of Community Development in 2005 to promote education & training of women in rural areas of White Nile
  • 4 & 5. REDUCE CHILD MORTALITY & IMPROVE MATERNAL HEALTH
    • Educating mothers about childcare can significantly reduce the high under-5 mortality in many countries.
    • HEIs to target educating mothers through their Faculties or Depts of Social Work
    • Immunization against measles is also important in reducing infant mortality
    • Students of Faculties of Medicine can assist in immunization programme through the national Ministries of Health
    • Maternal death at childbirth greatly reduced when assisted by skilled attendants
    • HEIs to train nurses, midwives, etc. to provide assistance at childbirth, especially in remote rural areas
    • Family planning helps in improving maternal health and reducing mortality
    • Importance of family planning to be incorporated in all medical, health and social work curricula in HEIs
  • 6. COMBAT HIV/AIDS, MALARIA & OTHER DISEASES
    • HIV/AIDS one of the worst health scourges & Sub-Saharan Africa by far the worst affected region
    • HEIs to first assess impact of HIV/AIDS on their own institution – use AAU’s Toolkit on HIV/AIDS
    • HEIs can contribute to the pandemic by:
    • - having a written policy on HIV/AIDS
    • - integrating HIV/AIDS into all relevant curriculum
    • - undertaking research
    • - encouraging outreach activities
    • - setting up a specialised unit to coordinate activities
    • HEIs to collaborate with other national and regional institutions for a concerted approach
    • Example: Commonwealth Regional Chair in ‘Education & HIV/AIDS’ launched in 2004 at U of West Indies to coordinate regional contribution of HE to HIV/AIDS
  • 7. ENSURE ENVIRONMENT SUSTAINABILITY
    • Promoting Sustainable Development – preventing deforestation, meeting growing energy demand, climate change, access to safe drinking water & sanitation, improving lives of slum-dwellers, etc. - a major international challenge
    • HEIs must play a key role in UN DESD (2005–2014)
    • Ways in which HEIs can promote SD:
    • - train school teachers to be sensitised to SD & incorporate SD in school curricula
    • - all HE programmes, in all fields, to be revised to introduce concept of SD
    • - teaching to be multi & inter-disciplinary, using team work and projects
    • - undertake R&D in SD
    • - mount programmes for training key professionals e.g. engineers, architects, economists, in aspects of SD
  • 8. DEVELOP A GLOBAL PARNERSHIP FOR DEVELOPMENT
    • For HEIs to contribute to achieving MDGs, they must be efficient & effective.
    • Not the case at present. Great disparity between quality of HEIs in north & south
    • HEIs in many developing countries constrained by lack of resources and expertise
    • Need for greater collaboration between HEIs in north & south
    • International donor and funding agencies to support HEIs in developing countries - already happening in Africa
    • _________________________________
    • Above list is only indicative. Many more examples of possible contributions of HEIs to achieving MDGs exist
  • IAU’s CONTRIBUTION
    • To sensitise HEIs about MDGs and collect HEIs’ experiences and suggestions, IAU chose ‘Contribution of HE Towards Achieving the UN MDGs’ as the topic for its biennial 2008 Essay Competition
    • Competition run in partnership with Palgrave Macmillan Ltd.
    • Launched in 2007 and closing date for submission was 31 March 2008
    • Best essay will win a prize of £1000 – to be announced at IAU’s General Conference in Utrecht, The Netherlands on 15-18 July 2008
    • The winning essay & a couple of other best contributions will be published in IAU’s Higher Education Policy Journal
  • THANK YOU